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Botanically speaking, asparagus “berries” aren’t berries at all! Instead, they are seed pods, each one holds three or four seeds. This is how asparagus self-propagates. To intentionally grow new plants from these seeds, pick the red berries and allow them to dry naturally in the sun.
The red berries or red balls you see on some plants are asparagus seed pods. These seed pods contain one or more asparagus seeds, which the plant uses for reproduction. Usually, seed pods only grow on female asparagus plants after the plant goes to seed.
Like the rhubarb, the part of the asparagus plant that we love – the young stems – are perfectly safe to eat. But the asparagus hides a deceptive, nasty secret: Its fruit, which are bright red berries, are toxic to humans.
The female asparagus stalk will become fern-like and develop berries (but don’t eat them because they are toxic to humans). Over time these female plants should be removed. … Males also produce spears earlier that are larger and the male plants tend to live longer.
The seed pods of asparagus plants are toxic for humans and also for dogs and cats, producing an allergic reaction in some individuals. Eating the berries can cause vomiting and abdominal pain. Raw asparagus shoots are also mildly toxic, although the toxicity is quickly eliminated by cooking.
If you notice decreased production and vigor in your asparagus plants, stop harvesting and let the plant store energy for next season. Any spears that reach a height of more than 10 inches should be allowed to continue growing to build root systems and energy for next year.
Tender spears of asparagus freshly cut from the garden are a delicacy that can be enjoyed year after year, and you need plant it only once. If you grow plants from seed, which is more economical, it may take two or more years to establish a fully productive plot. …
Overgrown Asparagus Isn’t “Bolting” That’s not the case with asparagus, so don’t be tempted to cut back the overgrown asparagus plant as it opens up and begins to fern. Its culinary value is just about nil, and you’ll be weakening the plant.
Because asparagus is a perennial, you’ll need to pick an out-of-the-way spot in the vegetable garden without competing plants. Asparagus also needs space, about 4 to 5 feet for each plant. They won’t spread out much the first couple of years, but once established they will quickly fill in.
The red berries on Asparagus sprengeri contain ripe black seeds. Mature asparagus ferns flower during the summer. Pea-size green berries follow the flowers. Sometimes these berries remain on the plant for many months, turning red indoors during the winter when they can be harvested for planting.
The asparagus foliage can be cut back to the ground after it has been destroyed by cold temperatures in fall. However, it is generally recommended that the dead foliage be allowed to stand over winter. The dead debris will catch and hold snow. Snow cover helps protect the asparagus crowns from freeze damage.
The easiest way to tell the sex of an asparagus plant is to look for the berries that form from female flowers on the ferns. Dig up and remove the entire female plants, including their underground crowns. Do this before these young green berries become red in color or mature and can spread seeds in the garden.
Asparagus is dioecious, which means there are both male and female plants. Female asparagus produces seeds that look like little red berries. Male plants produce thicker, larger spears than females. The flowers on male plants are also larger and longer than those on females.
Asparagus ferns tolerate splitting well and will quickly establish a productive new root system; however, they should only be split in early spring when the plant is dormant to prevent undue stress or damage to the roots.
It is not, strictly speaking, wild. It is feral. Like fennel in California, it has escaped from cultivation in the 400 years since Europeans brought it to the New World. Now asparagus lives in every state in the United States and every province in Canada, as well as through much of Mexico.
You can eat the whole spear except for the woody stem towards the bottom. Hold the asparagus spear on each end firmly. Gently bend the asparagus so that it bows out away from you. Keep bending until the asparagus snaps.
Important asparagus culture info — A unique concern with asparagus is that it accumulates the heavy metal arsenic. … This should not be a problem unless there was a significant concentration where you placed your asparagus plants.
Wild asparagus can be used like its common counterpart, prepared by snapping off the bottoms at their natural breaking or bending point. Wild asparagus is best showcased raw or briefly cooked; it can be sautéed, steamed, boiled, baked and fried.
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is among the few plants in the vegetable garden that comes back year after year. In the spring, it produces tender, edible spears, followed by ferny growth and possibly red seeds. This ferny growth is no cause for alarm. It actually means the plant is healthy and strong.
Harvest of mature stands should stop about 6-8 weeks after initial spear emergence, once the spear growth and emergence slows down significantly, or when spear width is less than pencil size. In Minnesota, this is typically in late June. Far northern locations may stop harvest later, because their season began later.
Each new asparagus spear grows from a bud that forms on the crown. There are never two spears that grow from the same bud, so as the asparagus plant ages (and as long as the underground crown is not damaged from harvesting, insects or diseases), the crown grows larger and larger as more buds are created.
Ferning out in asparagus is actually a good thing, as it indicates that photosynthesis is being promoted, therefore, nutrition production and absorption increases. … As the asparagus ferns out, female spears produce green berries that eventually turn red. These berries/seeds, however, are unlikely to produce new plants.
Asparagus prefers a soil pH between 6.5 and 7, which is mildly acidic. Coffee grounds can run 5 or less on the pH scale by themselves. … The grounds also add some nitrogen, which is a regular nutrition need of asparagus.
- Wait for a good rain to soften the soil, or water the bed well. …
- Using a large sharp knife to cut out thick weed stems below the soil surface. …
- Hand pull small weeds around the asparagus plants.
- Rake the soil surface smooth.
- Watch for the new weeds to appear.
Part of the common name is accurate, however. Asparagus ferns are closely related to edible asparagus (Asparagus officinalis). While asparagus ferns don’t produce anything we can harvest and eat, they are versatile, reliable, easy to grow and useful in a variety of gardening situations.
Other Autumn Asparagus Care Once you have cut the asparagus back, add several inches (10 cm.) of mulch to your asparagus bed. This will help to smother the weeds in the bed and will help fertilize the bed for next year. Compost or well-rotted manure makes an excellent mulch for asparagus in autumn.
Once asparagus plants are strong enough to be harvested, cut all new shoots in spring when they are about 8 inches tall, snapping them off at the soil line. Many seasoned gardeners use a knife to cut below the soil line, but it is important to avoid cutting into emerging spears nearby.
With proper care and in the right environment, asparagus live 7 years or more.
Asparagus can be grown from cuttings by dividing the crown or root of the plant. Each of the plant cuttings is then treated as an individual plant. Growing asparagus from cuttings will save you a lot of time and you’ll be able to select the strongest segments.
Tip. For each person, plant between five and 20 asparagus plants, depending on how often you plan to enjoy the vegetable. Each plant yields about 1/2 pound of asparagus spears each harvest.
That said, yes, asparagus seed propagation is very possible and a little cheaper than buying crowns. Asparagus seeds, or berries, turn bright red in autumn. … These seeds can then be used for planting asparagus. Likewise, you can purchase them from reputable suppliers.
These plants produce inconspicuous pale flowers in the spring, which turn into bright red berries later in the growing season. The berries and sap of these plants are toxic.
Thin asparagus spears appear for a number of reasons, but the root cause is ultimately the same: the asparagus crown lacks the rigor to create bigger shoots. … Improper Feeding – Asparagus are somewhat heavy feeders and need all the food they can get in order to build strong spears the following year.
- Alliums. Alliums like leeks, garlic, and onion sharing the soil with asparagus are said to stunt its growth. …
- Potatoes. Asparagus, on the other hand, stunts the growth of potatoes when they share the same space.
To sway you to my side further, I’ll point out that it is entirely possible to move asparagus, either in early spring or autumn, though you will have to dig them up very gingerly, trying not to break any of those long, spidery roots, and you should keep them damp between homes.
Asparagus spears grow extremely fast and are highly sensitive to mechanical injury from cultivation, insect feeding or wind- blown soil particles. Spears injured from any cause will grow slowly. Rapid growth on the opposite side of the spears causes them to curve and bend toward the injured side.
Although both male and female asparagus plants can produces flowers, only the female plant produces fruit, which are small red berries that you’ll see clinging to asparagus ferns in the summer.
By planting the asparagus crowns in a raised bed with a soil mix that includes loamy, organic matter, you can ensure good drainage. … Another reason to plant asparagus in a raised bed is because it is a perennial crop and can remain productive for 10 to 12 years.